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Splendid Solar Arc
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Splendid Solar Arc

June 25, 2013
SDO captured the graceful eruption of a solar prominence (June 13, 2013). A massive plume of dense, cool (only compared to the rest of the solar atmosphere) plasma rose up above the Sun’s surface. The plasma flowed in a loop along a magnetic field line, then gradually over several hours, the magnetic field lines broke. This structure is many times larger than Earth. The action was captured in the 304 Angstrom wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. When these ribbons of plasma appear against the black backdrop of space, as in this image, they appear bright, and they are called solar prominences. Such occurrences are not uncommon, but this one was larger than most we have observed.